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I had a conference friend and colleuge instant message me last week, and among our brief conversation he asked about what I thought of Seth Godin’s new “Squidoo” project knowing I was a fan of his work. I’m guessing he had taken a look at what everyone’s favorite skeptic, Nick W had to say that was less than glowing. I really don’t know much about the project yet, and my initial response was that from the glance I had given Nick’s writeup on it that it didn’t sound like anything too exciting. I went on to say that Seth had created a lot of great work, and that he was probably about due for a dud.
Here’s 3 reasons why I was wrong (realized after finishing the Big Moo).
- We were all talking about the project already (me before I’ve really even found anything out about it) – Seth is naturally remarkable now
- Seth knows he’s remarkable and doesn’t want to do anything that turns him back into an ordinary cow so he let’s others do his work for him (I’m sure he would be the first to admit this). – Case in point – “The Big Moo”. His greatest work now comes from helping to cultivate the best from other extraordinary minds. The ability to influence a social community of great thinkers with out trying to influence their thought is one of the things that makes Seth’s work continue to succeed.
- Squidoo will have a new twist on an existing idea. The free prize is what will make it work and make it more successful than the original (mind you I’m really not in-tuned to what the project is yet, but plan on reading more right after I post this article).
From the Big Moo:
The second best thing you can say about an idea is, “That’s been done before, and it worked.”
The best thing you can say is, “That’s been done before, and it didn’t work….Let’s do it again, but better”
The sagely advice provided by the group of 33 makes for a quick read that will eventually be one of very few books that I have read repeatedly. It is simple and too the point, and reading it straight through in only a few sittings without pondering many of the passages was probably a mistake. There are several that I’m already excited to go back and read.
There is hope for little people who want to do big things. After reading this, you’ll actually feel BETTER equipped to do big things as a single person rather than as a large corporate drone, or left with the inspiration to break the forces of corporate gravity with new ideas if you are a cog in a larger machine. Two of the over-riding themes are that change is the only thing that actually stays the same, and that being safe is the riskiest strategy you can have.
In an age where information and great ideas have truly become the greatest assets to a company, this is the type of material that will be taught in the most successful schools. Think against the crowd. You will make mistakes, just make them quick and inexpensive ones. If you abandon your ideas you are dead and might as well wait in line for your turn at a job at the DMV or your local supermarket.
My favorite part of the book is that much of the great advice is in story form. While profound advice is nice, it is even better when you can remember it when you need it. Some of the stories produced vivid recollections by their authors that will be much more easily brought to mind when the time of need for them actually comes.
My favorites of the 33 –
When Everything is Free
What would you do if your business was a commodity, or worse yet available free?
Tuesdays with Shecky: A Play in Three Jokes
Who can argue with garnering intellect and humor in the same sentences?
Making the Wrong Decisions, Slowly
Make mistakes. Just make them quickly and inexpensively.
What Exactly Are You Afraid Of?
You can’t shrink yourself from greatness.
I certainly hope this review doesn’t come across as just another review from a raving fanatic who has been duped by the “Godin Kool-aid” as that would do this book a grave dis-service. It is enlightening for the profound simpicity he must have demanded from the group of 33 great minds who authored it. I have certainly disagreed with Seth in the past for his narrow views of SEO. Accompanying this view was some pretty poor advice about the direction of our company while attending a session at his offices. To be fair, I certainly would not have fared even a fraction as well being put on the spot by well over a dozen wild eyed businesspeople starved for a nugget of idea wisdom from the king of idea merchants. While the advice for my own occupation remained quite lackluster, the concepts behind it and listening to the profoundly simple and mindset shifting suggestions he gave to others was well worth the price several fold.
Thanks to Seth for continuously reinventing ideas rather than just riding his fame like so many before him. It’s the reason I’ll give old ideas like Squidoo another look and recognize the simple brilliance of my favorite idea merchant.
Thanks also to Aaron for snatching up the pre-releases and passing along a copy as I had forgotten to do so.